Latest school assessment data show continued academic recovery in early literacy, with Black and Hispanic students making the greatest gains

Despite these improvements, the percentages of students at risk are still worse than prior to pandemic disruption, especially in grade 3

BROOKLYN, NY (February 27, 2023) — Today, Amplify, a publisher of next-generation curriculum and assessment programs, published a research brief on national middle-of-school-year (MOY) reading data. The data show that students across the country continue to make meaningful progress in early literacy. These successes are especially evident in the lower elementary grades. Further, the measurable disparities in achievement between Black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers have narrowed since the prior year. Despite this progress, in every elementary grade, the students at the greatest risk for not learning to read are performing worse than they were in the middle of the 2019–2020 school year. In particular, third graders, the cohort of students with the most impacted instructional time from the pandemic, experienced no improvement from the prior school year, signaling the importance of uninterrupted instructional time that is based in the Science of Reading.

“Literacy is a fundamental human right, and evidence-based literacy instruction is an imperative for lifelong success,” says Susan Lambert, chief academic officer of elementary humanities at Amplify. “Our nation’s students have experienced unprecedented learning disruptions over the last three years. The way forward is clear — evidence-based practices, like the Science of Reading, must guide our nation’s literacy recovery to help all of our children become confident readers.”

Despite recent progress, literacy rates in the United States remain a crisis today. There are still too many students at risk of failing to read proficiently by the end of the third grade, an important indicator of future academic success. Educators serving students in grades K–3 need continued support to help students that are most at risk. Schools and districts can invest in a reliable universal screener, high-quality core curriculum based in the Science of Reading, evidence-based interventions and ongoing professional development to ensure educators have the tools they need to support students.

The research brief compares mCLASS® with DIBELS® (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) 8th Edition benchmark data from the 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22 and 2022–23 school years. From more than 2 million students assessed with mCLASS, approximately 300,000 students in a matched set of 1,400 schools in 43 states are represented. The schools in the source data are slightly more likely to be in large urban metropolitan areas than the nation overall.

The data was collected using the mCLASS platform, which automates the data collection of DIBELS®. DIBELS is a widely-used series of short tests developed by the University of Oregon that assess K–8 literacy. It is an observational assessment collected by teachers interacting with students one-on-one, either live or over video. DIBELS is typically administered three times a year (beginning, middle and end of year), and it is used to identify reading difficulty, monitor progress and inform instruction, especially for struggling readers.

About Amplify
A pioneer in K–12 education since 2000, Amplify is leading the way in next-generation curriculum and assessment. Our core and supplemental programs in ELA, math and science engage all students in rigorous learning and inspire them to think deeply, creatively, and for themselves. Our formative assessment products help teachers identify the targeted instruction students need to build a strong foundation in early reading and math. All of our programs and services provide educators with powerful tools that help them understand and respond to the needs of every student. Today, Amplify serves more than 15 million students in all 50 states and on six continents. For more information, visit

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